Welcome to New Prairie High School!
Dear New Prairie High School Students and Parents,
This is the time of year when courage, hope, goals and dreams are tested. When hard work and sweat payoff or sometimes don't; or at least it seems that way.
As fall sports' seasons wrap up for our seniors it always brings tears of joy and sadness as reality suddenly sets in and our senior student athletes realize they have just played their last high school game, or performed in their last marching contest of their high school careers.
The hardest thing to learn in competition of any sort is that in the end their may always be a champion, but along the way, there are definitely not losers. Sure, 63 of 64 teams end up with one or more losses, but they aren't losers. The hardest thing to learn in life is that the concept of competition teaches us much more, than about winning.
The idea or concept teaches us to set and establish goals, teaches us about how to step away from the game or situation after it is over to analyze our performance, then gives us the opportunity to return to the next practice with a new plan to build upon the strengths identified and to correct the mistakes learned along the way.
Competition teaches us to never give up or give in. That when we face our Goliath, we strategize and create a plan in which we can conquer that Goliath in our path. The other great thing about this process is that we recognize and realize it is just a game or performance and in the grand scheme of life, doesn't mean that much.
The great part about this process is stepping back and looking at ourselves and learning and getting better. The concept of competition prepares us for the real game of life where the stakes are much higher and longer lasting.
In most cases it means being part of a team which teaches communication, negotiation, and other critical life skills. If you look around your world and those you have seen achieve what we might perceive as success, we discover that the lion share of them participated in some form of competitive program while in high school, and for those who have achieved what appears to be even greater success, we discover that they continued with some type of competitive program in college.
This isn't because these folks were necessarily the most gifted athletes or musicians or performers, it is because they were the most committed to turning their dreams into clear and achievable goals with daily and weekly plans to move towards those goals.
Life isn't about how many times you get knocked down, life, and success in life, is about how many times you get back up, and what you do with what you learned while you were down on the ground.
My great mentor, President Abraham Lincoln, lived his life in this way. He never had the opportunity to go to regular public school, but he took it upon himself to read and learn on his own. Most others in his situation would have complained and not done anything about improving their situation. He learned to listen and ask lots of questions. He learned from the answers he received and he set some goals and formulated a plan. He decided to become a politician so he could make a difference in the world that he knew. When he ran and lost, he didn't quit, in fact the next time he ran, he tried for even a higher office. He continued this process 12 times until finally after never quitting, he was elected as the 16th President of the United States. He took office at possibly the most crucial time in our nation's history and instead of running from it, complaining about it, or quitting, he in fact faced the situation head on. He lead our country through its most trying times and changed not only the world he lived in, but the world as we know it today, and then; literally gave his life as a result of his choices.
As I have watched so many of you have your seasons ended abruptly, I feel your pain and anguish and somewhat understand your thoughts of hopelessness and despair. I truly hurt with you, but I stand alongside of you as your cheerleader; their to comfort you, and to push you to get back up and to find another race, another game, another performance in life and to once again set a goal, develop a plan, and execute that plan, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, until you reach your ultimate goal.
For those that are still playing and winning, whether you make it to the end or not, it is like seeing the top of the mountain and climbing to the top, there to find a valley on the other side, with another mountain to climb, higher than the one you just conquered. With each mountain and each valley, the ultimate goal is to keep climbing, and each time you slip or fall, to get back up and continue forward and upward.
I have had the privilege of being a part of several state champion programs, and interestingly enough, what I remember is not the trophy presentation or the post game celebrations, parades and assemblies; what I remember is the journey. The lessons learned, and the relationships developed along the way. Those are the memories that I cherish and hold deep in my heart.
I want each of our student-athletes or performers to know that there are many who have walked in their shoes, and they are there, and will always be there to support them, encourage them, and as I try to do, cheer them on.
I want the parents and even the coaches to remember that it is just a game, one that is designed to teach us life skills to help us become better people; better sons and daughters, better brothers and sisters, better students and some day employees or employers, better husbands and wives and ultimately, and possibly most importantly, better parents, fathers and mothers, teachers and nurturers.
I absolutely love my job. To me, it isn't a job, it is a calling in life to love and to support, to teach and to guide, and yes, even to cheer. May each of our student-athletes, performers, musicians, students, parents and coaches all learn from each moment each day, and strive to be better tomorrow than you are today; but not think it is the end when you fall, fail, lose or get knocked down. It is just another lesson to be learned. So learn and Get Back Up.
Let's have a great rest of the fall, and let's head into winter with our heads held high, because in Our House: We Live, We Learn, We forgive, We Forget, We Leave it Better than We Found it, We Help Others in Need, We Think of Others First, and We Never, Ever, Give Up or Quit. Remember, We Enter with Pride, and We Leave with Honor. Love It, Live It; This is Our House, Welcome!
Words aren't sufficient to describe my feelings for each one of you and the joy that each of you bring into my life each and every day. Each day I am a better person because of each of you. You all inspire me to want to be better and to work harder and to cheer even louder each and every day
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the most wonderful fall school year in my 21 year career. Let's keep it rolling forward, because together we are mighty!
Let's Go Cougar Nation. This is Our House!
Greg Dettinger, Principal